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Housing experts call for a Commissioner for Ageing

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Housing experts have called for a Commissioner for Ageing in England and Scotland – similar to the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales – to encourage service integration that enables people to age in the right place.

A University of Stirling-led report found that the UK housing sector is still not ready for ageing, but said there was evidence of real support and political buy-in for ongoing and future solutions.

The report, Housing and Ageing: Linking Strategy to future delivery for Scotland, Wales and England 2030, recommended that housing should play a central role in the provision of services for older people.

It also called for new adaptable and affordable housing to be built; investment in early intervention; and meaningful consultation with older people.

More than 200 people from Scotland, Wales and England – including practitioners in the housing field, older adults and policy makers – were involved in drawing up the recommendations, following a series of events organised by the University of Stirling in partnership with the Universities of Dundee and Heriot-Watt, earlier this year.

Participants analysed existing policy challenges and priorities, and looked at their impact on older people.

The workshops culminated in a conference in May, attended by Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing in Scotland, and Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Housing and Regeneration in Wales.  

The report, which was funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute and Social Policy Association, will be submitted for consideration by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, in a bid to ensure a joined-up approach to the issue across the country.

Head shot of woman wearing glasses, off-white jacket and black top
We must act now if we are going to meet the housing needs of future generations by 2030.
Dr Vikki McCall Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing

Project lead, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing Dr Vikki McCall, said: “We must act now if we are going to meet the housing needs of future generations by 2030.

“Overwhelmingly, these recommendations point to a proposal to support people ageing in the right place, with clear elements of learning from services, organisations and older people across the UK.

“Evidence has shown that the preferred environment in which to age is at home and in the community. To achieve this, the findings highlight putting housing at the heart of service integration as the first step, as housing supports are needed that encourage older adults to live independently, co-located in a community of choice and surrounded by services and amenities that meet the often complex and changing requirements of old age.”

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